Data from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) annual reports to Congress on the implementation of IDEA show that over-representation of minority students in special education is a problem that affects educational equity in our country. The overrepresentation of minority students is an increasingly important issue as minority students are becoming the majority of public school populations. Investigating the Overrepresentation of Ethnic Minorities in Special Education Damien Murtagh Sped 605 May 2003. 2010. Who Is Placed into Special Education? These unadjusted ratios answer the important descriptive question of how student experience varies by race. From: Almond., D., Hoynes, H.W., & Schanzenbach, D.W. 2011. Overrepresentation occurs due to a number of factors including a lack of effective instructional programs, ineffective teaching methods, and assumptions made by professionals in the field. Sullivan and Bal studied one Midwestern urban school district and found that while socioeconomic controls attenuate the impact of race, black students remain more likely than others to be identified for special education; they did not include student achievement as a covariate.13, Special education identification practices vary widely across and within states and districts – we do not know a “right” level. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem. 17 … For the 2020-2021 school year, the Ohio Department of Education has set Ohio’s threshold at a ratio of 2.50 in order to more fully identify and address racial disparities in special education across the state. The overrepresentation of African-American students could be due to: (1) the LEA inappropriately identifying African-American students as having an emotional disturbance and needing special education and related services even though they do not (over-identification); (2) the LEA failing to appropriately identify students in other racial or The Journal of Special Education, 32, 15–24. Such overrepresentation occurs when the percentage of students in special education . The law and regulations and other resources can be found at: For excerpted public comments on the regulation, see: “Identifying Minorities in Spec. Inadequate aptitude in either English or the indigenous language … However, they made up 47 percent of the students labeled as having emotional and behavior disorders and 57 percent of students with intellectual disabilities. 2 Debates on the overrepresentation of minority students, particularly African- Americans, are not new in special education and have characterized research in this field for over three decades. Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Special Education, 2016. The overrepresentation of historically underserved students (historically underserved students are students from diverse racial/ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds who have traditionally experienced significant school failure; this term is used instead of minority students or … In other words, we don’t just want to know if black students are more likely to be in special education than whites; we want to know if black students are too likely to be in special education—or, as it turns out, not likely enough. Kimberly Suzette Peterz Chicago, Illinois . Data on identification by race and ethnicity are essential for revealing patterns and outliers. Significant Disproportionality, 2016, 2. overrepresentation of African American students in special education classrooms for mental retardation, specific learning disabilities, behavior disorders, physical impairments, visual impairments, and speech impairments (Watkins & Kurtz, 2001). Overrepresentation or disproportionality of minority students in special education programs is an ongoing problem that has plagued our nation for several decades. They can prod districts and states to examine their special education policies and practices, potentially identifying ones that unintentionally yield discriminatory results, and shine a light on groups in need of greater early intervention resources. Indeed, research shows that among Medicaid-eligible children with autism diagnoses, white children are diagnosed over a year earlier than black children.20, We do not want to live in a society where parents describe access to dyslexia (or other) services as “a rich man’s game.”, The Department of Education’s guidance notes that significant disproportionality could result from “appropriate identification, with higher prevalence of a disability, among a particular racial or ethnic group.” In other words, exceeding the risk ratio could be appropriate and acceptable: this level of nuance could easily be missed, while the state’s numeric threshold remains salient.21 The result could be states and districts feeling pressured to produce equal rates of identification across groups—by denying services to students who need them. Overrepresentation occurs when a sample of students have a higher proportion of identification and placement than their proportion within the popu- lation. Minorities Are Disproportionately Underrepresented in Special Education. Overrepresentation or disproportionality of minority students in special education programs can be an ongoing problem that has plagued our country for several years. Nationwide, black students are 2.9 times more likely to be identified as mentally … Qty: Description By Sue Gamm, Esq. 2nd factor- the use of assessment instruments that many believe are actually biased,particularly the IQ test. Research indicates that factors such as test bias, poverty, poor general education instruction, and insufficient professional development for working with diverse students can cause this overrepresentation. & Farkas, G. “Is Special Education Racist?”, Morgan, P.L. A follow up study found this result applied across the five disability classifications studied, notably including emotional disturbance and intellectual disability, stigmatizing categories in which black boys are over represented in the aggregate, unadjusted data.9 While some have questioned the generalizability of the ECLS-K results due to sampling,10 the qualitative result has been replicated using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the 2017 Morgan et al. First, overrepresentation occurs when the percentage of minority students in special education programs is greater than that in the school population as a whole. Blood Lead Levels in Children Aged 1-5 Years – United States, 1999-2010. By 1968, over 80 per cent of students in special education came from minority groups (Samson & Lesaux, 2009). There may also be under-representation of minorities in gifted education. The federal government considers disproportionality “significant” when the overrepresentation exceeds a threshold defined by each state. Of course, disproportionality also occurs with regard to placement in gifted and talented programs, placement in more or less restrictive special education settings and the occurrence and severity of disciplinary actions (Skiba, et al., 2006). Is an Inclusive Class the Best Option for Your Special Needs Child? Regardless of time, legislative debate and a host … When identifying another student pushes a district over a risk ratio threshold, the district faces a clear incentive to under identify—that is, to withhold services from—children who already face a broad array of systemic disadvantages. Prior to enrolling, he had attended school in a neighbor­ing city for less than a year and been referred for a special education evalu­ation because of his poor academic progress. This study identified multiple factors that shape this … “This policy would help poor kids more than universal pre-K does.” Brookings Institution, July 30, 2016. Black children are over twice as likely to have elevated blood lead levels as whites, and low-income children over three times as likely as others. Disproportionality in Special Education: Where, Why and How It Occurs : Price: $ 38.50. We also need to help states and districts collect and report race- and ethnicity-specific rates. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, federal policy treated the existence of disproportionality as evidence of potential discrimination. Overrepresentation can occur in many areas but is most prevalent when considering a student’s ethnicity. 2002. Morgan, Paul L., George Farkas, Marianne M. Hillemeier, and Steve Maczuga. 2010. We do not want to live in a society where parents describe access to dyslexia (or other) services as “a rich man’s game.”16 It’s less troubling for those who view special education as stigmatizing and punitive, even for students who are appropriately identified — and indeed, we have little understanding of how well or poorly special education serves its students. Some numbers are worth noting: We need to work towards better identification practices in special education. To answer this question, we must compare the likelihood that a black student participates in special education with that of an otherwise identical white student. D.W., forthcoming Ethnic minorities in special education We need to help your stay. Districts to avoid “ disproportionality ” surely comes from an idealistic place, schools can not do alone. Child with Learning disabilities the real problem the opposite? ”, Morgan Farkas. By this, and Steve Maczuga, where they may not have access challenging. 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